All posts tagged: black-and-white

Stark portraits from a former communist republic

“Gilles burst into my consciousness when I was judging a competition in September,” remembers Stephen Mayes, executive director of the Tim Hetherington Trust. “His Albanian study exploded with passion and vigour, which seems to flow effortlessly from frame to frame. He takes documentary to the realm of emotion and metaphor, with a rock-solid technique that never falters.” A former company executive, Gilles Roudière left his job in 2005 to move to Germany and dedicate himself to a hobby that progressively turned into a passion. He learned everything by reading library books and studying photo agencies’ websites. The day he became a photographer was the day he “stopped ‘understanding’ images, but ‘felt’ them instead”, he says. The Berlin-based photographer is profoundly interested in what makes a ‘space’ a ‘place’, and has therefore grounded each of his projects so far in a defined territory. “What is most important is how a locale is experienced, and the photographic translation of said experience, more than its straightforward depiction. I have no interest in objectivity. I want to be as subjective as possible,” he says, …

2015-08-21T15:29:55+00:00

John McNair, General Secretary of the ILP (Independent Labour Party) addresses the first Pan-African Congress in Manchester. Also on the stage is Amy Jacques Garvey, the second wife of Marcus Garvey. (Photo by John Deakin/Picture Post/Getty Images)

The Manchester town hall meeting that shaped Africa: remembering the Fifth Pan-African Congress

In October, 1945, as the European powers recovered from six years of, 87 delegates representing 50 organisations met in a town hall in Manchester. They came together for the Fifth Pan-African Congress, all with a singular, righteous purpose: the liberation of hundreds of millions of Africans living under colonial rule. Seventy years have passed since the Fifth Pan-African Congress, an event which, in hindsight, was one of the most significant happenings of African organisation ever to have occurred in Britain, perhaps the world. To commemorate, Autograph ABP are, for the first time, exhibiting photographs taken at the event.  The exhibition features over thirty photographs, a selection of rare ephemera and materials associated with the Congress and will be accompanied by a Pan-African Film Lounge, screening a programme of films exploring Pan-African history. “It’s an interesting chapter in history in many ways,” says Mark Sealy, director of Autograph ABP. “It’s significant in terms of who was there and why they were there — Jomo Kenyatta [the first leader of Kenya after independence], Kwame Nkrumah [who later led anti-colonial resistance in Ghana] and …

2015-07-27T12:08:06+00:00

Remembering Mary Ellen Mark

From the 1940s until perhaps the early 90s, an empathic documentation of everyday life appeared weekly or monthly in the world’s illustrated magazines, a medium whose appeal lay almost wholly in its use of outstanding photography, by great practitioners. It was a time, Mary Ellen Mark recalled, when “the magazines really needed photographers, especially documentary photographers. When they flourished you could bring an idea to a magazine and they would do it. Sadly that time is over”. Nonetheless, she worked on very successfully until the end of her life, combining documentary reportage with commercial assignments in fashion and advertising and portraiture. She was as adept in the studio as in the street, and as at ease with a Leica as she was with an ultra-large format studio camera. Faithful to film photography to the end, she never felt attracted to digital: “I’m staying with film, and with silver prints and no Photoshop …[that’s] the way I learned photography. You make your picture in the camera,” she said in 2008. Born in Elkins Park, near Philadelphia, …

2015-05-28T18:02:04+00:00

ballen 1200 800

VIDEO: Roger Ballen – Outland

The New York photographer Roger Ballen has spent decades photographing the most extreme fringes of South African society. But this is not a documentary project, but a dark cavity into our collective psychology. “I started to work with the subjects in a theatrical, performative way,” Ballen says in our exclusive video interview. “I was there to transform reality.” Ballen is a hugely contentious figure in South Africa. Making his home there in the early eighties, Ballen began to provide the world with powerfully provocative portraits of marginalised, poverty-stricken communities – an uncomfortable reminder of the failings of the Apartheid system. Ballen was at first rooted in the socio-documentary tradition. But then he began to evolve. His photographs began to step beyond the role of witness into a complex portrayal of documentary fiction.  Here, poor whites, transplanted to the cities, take on theatrical role-plays within the pictures, acting out their position as social outsiders in an interplay with Ballen’s own symbolistic leanings. Removed from any established use-value as social documentation, the disturbing photographs ask uncomfortable questions of the viewer. As …

2015-05-07T11:56:43+00:00

Lewis Bush – Metropole

BJP

Cities are places of constant change. It’s the nature of them, and it’s what makes them attractive. But not all change is equal; some is organic, some is pernicious and abnormal. London has always been a city in flux. But, for anyone living in London, the transformations of the past few years are impossible to ignore. Huge swathes of the city have been redeveloped, remarkable buildings demolished, long-standing communities displaced. This current period of activity is unique, for it is is undoing many of the things that make the city unique. As social housing becomes luxury flats, as their inhabitants are forced out to the suburbs, the inner zones of the city become ever more homogenous, expensive and dull. This issue is what underlies Metropole, a project that aims to visualise the changing skyline of London, to imagine how the city will come to look in the future and, most importantly, seeks to recreate the sensation of feeling lost in a city that was once familiar. It’s a project partly inspired by the city symphony movies of the 1920s, films that eulogised …

2015-04-21T15:14:33+00:00

Tod Papageorge – Studio 54

Bianca Jagger rode a white horse through it on her birthday. On Andy Warhol’s special day, the owners gave him bin full of dollar bills for his. New York’s Studio 54 opened in 1977 and closed less than three years later, but it’s gone down in history as the most glamorous, most louche, best nightclub in history. It was also one of the most photographed. Populated by celebrities and party people, decorated with literally tonnes of glitter and an illuminated, coke-snorting man-on-the-moon, Studio 54 was a treasure trove for image-makers. Tod Papageorge was one of them, first arriving at the new year’s eve party of 1977/78 and going back again and again until it closed. But while most of the photographers were shooting on assignment, or shooting celebrities with a view to selling them on, Papageorge was working for himself, free to capture the whole scene on his own terms. “I was on my own kind of self-assignment,” he tells BJP. “It had nothing to do with celebrity, and all to do with making what I hoped would be …

2015-04-17T18:45:00+00:00

Salt and Silver: Early Photography 1840-1860

William Henry Fox Talbot worked out how to do it 1839, by soaking paper in silver iodide salts to register a negative image which, when photographed again, created permanent paper positives. It was one of the earliest ways of creating a photographer. He called it a ‘salt print.’ The photographs were fragile and liable to corrode quickly. In the great Victorian age of invention, salt prints were quickly replaced by new photographic processes. A new exhibition at London’s Tate Britain gallery will show how, for a short but significant time, the British invention of salt prints became a stock in trade process for emerging photographers the world over. Salt and Silver: Early Photography 1840-1860 is the first major exhibition in Britain devoted to salt prints; with ninety photographs on display are among the few fragile salt prints that survive and are seldom shown in public. “There was no such thing as a photographer back in the 1870s,” says Carol Jacobi, the curator of the show. “The early adopters of photography, the people who became the first photographers, were already lawyers or painters or scientists or politicians, as was the case with Talbot.” …

2015-04-17T14:05:55+00:00

BJP Staff